State crackdown on distracted driving begins today
The state Department of Transportation and communities across the state will begin a concerted effort to enforce distracted driving laws, with officers “cracking down on motorists who text, talk, or distract themselves with a hand-held mobile phone while driving,” according to a release.
The “U Drive. U Text. U. Pay” campaign is in its fifth year, according to the DOT, and is set to run this year from Aug. 1 through Aug. 15.
“Too many drivers are ignoring their responsibilities behind the wheel,” said DOT Commissioner Joseph Giulietti in the release. “Starting August 1, the community will see an increased and highly visible law enforcement presence on our roadways as officers will be stopping and ticketing anyone who is texting and driving.”
An initial phase of the effort this year was held in April, with more than 10,000 citations issued to motorists.
According to the DOT, nearly 33,000 motor vehicle accidents have occurred in the state since 2015 involving a distraction, including 45 fatal crashes.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 3,166 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2017, according to the release.
Those cited for distracted driving are fined $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second and $500 for any incurred thereafter, according to the release.